Journal of the American Chemical Society

Photocontrolled DNA binding of a receptor-targeted organometallic ruthenium(II) complex.

PMID 21797210


A photoactivated ruthenium(II) arene complex has been conjugated to two receptor-binding peptides, a dicarba analogue of octreotide and the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) tripeptide. These peptides can act as "tumor-targeting devices" since their receptors are overexpressed on the membranes of tumor cells. Both ruthenium-peptide conjugates are stable in aqueous solution in the dark, but upon irradiation with visible light, the pyridyl-derivatized peptides were selectively photodissociated from the ruthenium complex, as inferred by UV-vis and NMR spectroscopy. Importantly, the reactive aqua species generated from the conjugates, [(η(6)-p-cym)Ru(bpm)(H(2)O)](2+), reacted with the model DNA nucleobase 9-ethylguanine as well as with guanines of two DNA sequences, (5')dCATGGCT and (5')dAGCCATG. Interestingly, when irradiation was performed in the presence of the oligonucleotides, a new ruthenium adduct involving both guanines was formed as a consequence of the photodriven loss of p-cymene from the two monofunctional adducts. The release of the arene ligand and the formation of a ruthenated product with a multidentate binding mode might have important implications for the biological activity of such photoactivated ruthenium(II) arene complexes. Finally, photoreactions with the peptide-oligonucleotide hybrid, Phac-His-Gly-Met-linker-p(5')dCATGGCT, also led to arene release and to guanine adducts, including a GG chelate. The lack of interaction with the peptide fragment confirms the preference of such organometallic ruthenium(II) complexes for guanine over other potential biological ligands, such as histidine or methionine amino acids.

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